The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed new rules for the frameworks for hunting certain migratory birds for the 2014-15 late season. FWS announced the proposal in the Federal Register of Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. Given the tight timeframe, FWS is taking public comments only until Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. It plans to finalize the rules on or around Sept 20.
The frameworks set the outer limits for dates hunting is allowed and the number of birds that can be bagged. States can choose among allowable dates, hours, areas and limits. File your comments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. Go to Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0017. Or mail or drop them off in person at Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0017, Division of Policy & Directives Management, FWS, FWS Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
If you have any questions, contact Ron W. Kokel, FWS, Department of the Interior, MS: MB, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; (703) 358-1967.
FWS proposed frameworks in April and June. It proposed early hunting regulations in July. FWS says it will finalize the early hunting rules by the end of August.
FWS notes that spring came late this year in most of North America but that habitat conditions were not worse than normal. Duck population is higher than normal. Conditions for geese in Canada were “variable,” though, FWS reports. Some populations went up; others down for various species of geese.
The new proposal basically uses last year’s frameworks with recommendations for changes from the four flyway councils and suggestions from the public in the previous rounds of comments.